A morning above Taipei

I like the hotel we’re in, the Wonstar, a strange place nestled above a Family Mart near Songshan station, but the room is windowless. That meant we had twelve hours of uninterrupted sleep in pitch black darkness, but there was no way to figure out the weather outside. And don’t for a moment think of recommending the internet, because just as that thinks that "rainy" is a perfectly accurate description of Singapore 365 days of the year, so, it turns out, is "overcast" adequate for Taipei.

We got out about 10:30/11 because first I had to stuff breakfast into La Serpiente, and then my wife had found a recommendation of 6 things to do with kids in Taiwan. The first on the list was the Elephant Trail up Xiangshan, so off we went.

It was brutal. At one point I had to stop because there were big black dots obscuring my vision, and it’s irresponsible to faint and fall down a hill with a child strapped to you. Then again, I would have the defense that I had fifteen kilos of dead weight hanging off me. The sun shone down through the clouds (it’s one of those harshly bright overcast days, where everything is high impact grey) and the humidity was monstrous, and I had a little sweaty child tied to me.

And I had the Elephant Trail. This is insane: or at least insane to recommend for small children. La Serpiente’s shins are about six inches long, which puts her knees about the height of each step, so it would have been a perpetual climb up for her, not a walk. The stairs go straight up the mountain, without rest or mercy until you reach the guide map, which shows the City Psychiatric Center trail. Would you have to be mad to hike it, or would it just help?


We stopped for a breather, and La Serpiente told she me was tired. This elicited no sympathy as I’d been doing all the carrying work but I gave her a bit of breakfast cookie to eat and we continued ascending. Having her on my back made breathing easier, but we were both soaked in sweat by the time we got to the top. There was an ok view of Taipei 101 from there, but there is a tree halfway in the way.


I’m so amused by La Serpiente’s expression I had to put this picture in twice.

Descending was a piece of cake, and was over so fast I doubted we had came down the same thing we went up. We went back to the station and at some point breached La Serpiente’s elastic limit, and she howled all the way back to Songshan, back to the hotel, back to the room, through a conversation with her mother … and then passed out cold. It’s one way to get her to take her nap. It also gives me a chance to scoff the chocolate coated blueberries without her noticing.

And so to bed for me too…


One response to “A morning above Taipei”

  1. Mum, JULIET, Derek and I are at your cousin’s wedding on a farm near Bridgewater (think Stonehenge and keep going West). A glorious day of open air celebration, eating and drinking, and dancing into the night.

    God bless you both in Taiwan



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